Category Archives: OffStage14

Offstage Atlanta Team – Day 5

I’m so sad for this to be the last blog! What a super week we’ve had!

Today was a perfect ending to a perfect week. We started off the day by driving over to Decatur to meet up with Terri James at Thumbs Ups Diner! We all enjoyed some FANTASTIC breakfast while we chatted with Terri. If you haven’t heard the name, she is an actress on lots of television shows and has a good resume! She has worked on The Vampire Diaries, Drop Dead Diva, Nashville, and Army Wives, to name a few shows! On most of these shows, she’s had a couple episodes where she works in a multi-episode arc. We were all amazed to hear from all her experiences!

She talked to us about how to get in the business and gave us advice about how to get acting work. It was super interesting to hear all that it takes, but it definitely sounds like a fun job! Terri loves her job and loves all the things she is able to be apart of, so it really inspired all of us to do what we love.

After leaving Thumbs Up, we headed over to Icon Studios where we met with Nate Butler. Nate is an awesome singer-songwriter and producer, but even more – a strong Christian believer! Even in the short time that we had with him, he went into a few “preaching sessions” before getting back on track!

In the studio, he shared his life story with us and how he came to be where he is. He continually stressed having connections and making friends with everyone, which is one thing that everyone we have encountered this whole week has stressed! When one of our group asked how to avoid getting discouraged when you are trying to get some work, Nate told the story of David and how even though he was a shepherd boy, God was already watching him and knew just where he was, along with where he was destined to be! It was so good! He also encouraged us by telling us that if we really want to do something and we know we are called to it, we can’t stop for anything to get there.

Nate has done tons of work, and has sold over 45 million records with songs that he has written! One interesting thing that he talked about is that with his work in the music industry, he often produces rappers and artists that might not always be considered the most appropriate. Because of this, he explained to us that he often receives criticism from the Christian community. We all loved when he described that despite this, he remains solid in his faith and lives it out strongly. He explained how he feels that it is possible he might be the only reflection of Jesus that some people see, and even in the short time that he is with them, he can try to be a light to them. So inspiring! We all were absolutely blown away by Nate’s knowledge and unwavering faith, and he was definitely a highlight of the week.

After this, we went over to meet with Palmer Williams, who is an actor for Tyler Perry. Mrs. Wallace has gotten to know him over the years through a neighbor of hers. He has done a little bit of everything in acting and singing! We met him at his friend’s recording studio, and he talked a lot about recording. He and his friends had such a great knowledge for everything concerning entertainment, and we were able to get some great advice from them. All of us stepped away super happy that we were able to end the week there!

We took a quick lunch stop at Cumberland Mall on the way home, and it was super bittersweet that it was our last moments together for Spring Term. By the time that we got home, we were all so excited for Spring Break, but so sad that this week was over. Overall, Offstage Atlanta has been absolutely amazing, and truly such an incredible experience! I’d say it was a huge success for all of us!

Austin Geter, 9th grade
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Offstage Atlanta Team – Day 4

Today was an absolute BLAST! We are all starting to get really sad as this week comes to a close. Mrs. Wallace has done an excellent job of organizing this Spring Term for us! There hasn’t been a single sour moment, and every moment of it has been fun for all of us!

We started off the day by visiting the Fox Theater and taking a tour there! We had such a nice elderly gentleman who toured us around, and he did a great job of keeping it interesting. The group found out that he was a pastor at a Lutheran church for 27 years previously, so we were all curious as to how he got into the tour guide business!

On the tour, we were able to go around and see the actual theater part of the building, and we also saw all the historical parts of the building. It was very interesting to hear all the stories involved with the building, as you don’t expect it to have so much history. As we went along, our guide sort of took us through the decades and everything that the building has gone through. I encourage you to look it up, it’s very fascinating! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go backstage and see all the dressing rooms, nor were we able to go on stage, which was a little bit of a bummer. It was still cool being there and seeing the history though and we had a fun time!

After the Fox, we stopped for a quick lunch on the way back to school. We thought of the food trucks on Howell Mill, but none of them were open so we ended up at Willy’s, which was so delicious. Just the nourishment we needed before a fun afternoon!

When we arrived back at the school, we headed to the Fine Arts Building where we met up with Laughing Matters, an improv group based out of Atlanta. The two people that came from the improv group put on a little performance for us, and in the process turned it all into a workshop that we could learn from. We absolutely loved them – they were so hysterical!

The pair started off by showing us a little bit of what improv is and we were all dying of laughter because they were so good. Their method was taking a fear that one of us had (in this case, we used the fear of ferris wheels) and they played off of each other by making a story out of it. Each person swapped out words, for example the first person would say “Once” and the next would say “Upon” and so on! They really had to play off of each other and they were so impressive at it.

Next, they pulled up two people on stage and they told a story. At random times they would stop and look to one of the two of our group in order for them to insert a word into the story. We were having such a fun time watching it, and I wish I could attach the video for you all to see it!

From there we did a couple more exercises like this that were equally as fun, and then we played several games to help us learn about being random and spontaneous. Some of us ended up laughing so hard that we were crying – we seriously had such an outrageous time!

We continued doing various exercises, and I think many of us really developed a passion for improv! Who knew how hard it was and how dependent you have to be on those you’re acting with?!

Laughing Matters was a huge hit, and I hope that one day we can work with them again. Hopefully, we will all be able to take some of the stuff that we learned and be able to use it in our other acting performances.

We are looking forward to a full day tomorrow – it should be so fun!

Austin Geter, 9th grade
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Offstage Atlanta Team – Day 3

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Day 3 was a huge success! When we met up at the school, Mrs. Wallace had a big surprise in store for the group! Though it had been originally talked about, a cool idea that Mrs. Wallace had while planning Spring Term supposedly “didn’t work out”. However, she looked into it more and discovered she had some money left in the budget, so she rented a tour bus for us to travel around in during the day! The bus driver had such a cool perspective on his job, and absolutely loves what he does. He has driven for countless well-known bands, such as Journey and many others. Not only that, but he’s also worked with some Christian bands like Hillsong United and Jamie Grace. He is a Christian himself, and we loved hearing that he is living out his faith while working with people who are sometimes very far from the Lord. What a cool experience!

Our devotion for the day was given on the bus and led by Starr Celestin. She reminded us that we are created in the image of Christ, and that we should never be ashamed of who we are. We discussed the fact that everything we do should be true to ourselves, and in turn, that should reflect God’s glory in the way that He has designed us. Such a great reminder and message to find our identity in Christ!

We headed out in our tour bus to KSU, where we spent the better part of the day. We met up with Bob Becklean, who works part time at Kennesaw State and also part time at NCCS! He was so gracious to take us around the music department’s building in order for us to get a feel for the program there. We spent some time in their huge, fairly new rehearsal room, which was amazing in itself, before we headed into their main auditorium. Here they put on all sorts of concerts and recitals, and we were all in awe of the space! It is such a nice facility and the program at KSU is so good that they have just recently signed a deal with the Atlanta Opera, as well as the Atlanta Symphony to have concerts there.

Next, we took a short walk down to the theater department’s black box where we learned more about their theater program. I think many were very interested in what the school had to offer by the end of this meeting, and it was a great learning experience for us all!

Heading back up to the concert hall, we were able to sit in on the KSU Chamber Choral Singers class and listen to all that they do. They were INCREDIBLE, and we were all absolutely blown away. Their naturally talented voices, along with the fantastic acoustics of the hall, made for a greatly inspiring experience! We even met up with Brianna Westland, a graduate of NCCS, who is a part of the group.

During our visit, Mr. Becklean took us up in waves to go take a look at the hall’s state of the art sound booth. Our techies in the group were amazed by some of the technology there! They have the capability to record all concerts and rehearsals in a professional manner, allowing them to send off recordings whenever needed.

Finally, it was time for lunch and we walked to the Commons to eat. It was such good meal, as the cafeteria at KSU is rated as one of the top college cafeteria facilities in the country! On our way there, we were shown the amazing rehearsal and practice rooms available to all music majors. There is a sound system there where you can set the room to sound like you are in a different type of arena or concert hall to get a feel for how you would sound. So cool!

After lunch, we hopped back on the bus to take a ride down to Cobb Energy Center. We toured all around the building and were amazed by what we saw. The stage alone was incredibly breathtaking, and dreams were started of performing on something like that one day. We went all around the backstage, and got to go up to the catwalks 80 feet up in above the seating to see the tech functions that can be done up there. We then looked at the pit area, and also looked into the dressing rooms before wrapping up our tour. Throughout the tour, Ryan Daly was able to share some of his stories from when he had the neat experience of performing at the Shuler Hensley Awards last year. Many of us got super excited thinking about the show happening there again in just under a month!

We left the Center, sad that the day was coming to the end, but also enjoyed the last bit of riding on the tour bus. We snagged a quick picture before saying our farewells to our tour bus and driver for the day. We are so excited about touring the Fox Theatre tomorrow and also to work with an improv acting troupe. Once again, we had such a fun day!

Austin Geter, 9th grade
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Offstage Atlanta – Day 2

Here we go again!

Today was a long day, but we all had a blast! We started off the morning by meeting up in Mrs. Wallace’s room and having our devotion. Chase Truran challenged us all to put our future in God’s hands, because while we may not know what to do in life, God already wrote our story and is taking care of us. So good!

Next, we worked on part of our service project for the week. On Wednesday, we are going to see the Chamber Singers at KSU. For our service project, we are all writing letters of encouragement and bible verses to the Singers since they are in a rough time of life. It was so cool to be apart of all of their stories, and hopefully our notes will be the pick-me-up that they need!

By the time that we were done with the letters, Lisa Rosemond from Jan Smith Studios was there to meet with us. Lisa is a vocal coach that works hard to make singers out of those who have never sung before, and also helps those who have sung for a long time to improve. She shared her knowledge and experience with the group, and trust me – she has a LOT of knowledge! We were blown away by the people she has worked with and the clients she has had that have made a real name for themselves.

Finally, we headed out for a long day out and about the city. We first went to Third Day’s recording studio and met with Mark Lee, guitarist for Third Day. As we toured around, we were absolutely BLOWN away by how massive the studio was, and the fact that it was a brand new facility. Mark shared some of his stories, and answered all our burning questions about the business. It was so cool getting to see all of this, and it inspired us to do what we love! After this, we took a little break and went to lunch where there were some great bonding moments!

After we finished lunch, we headed to Southern Tracks recording studio. This used to be a full time music studio, where tons of bands and artists recorded their albums! Nowadays it’s a great studio where they mostly work on recording for commercials and also handle various marketing recordings. It was yet another side of music that many of us have never thought about, and it was so interesting! We toured around, and it was so cool to see the contrast between this studio that has been around since the 50’s and 60’s and Third Day’s brand new studio.

With a little time to spare before dinner, we headed to Guitar Center to chill and look around. Brennan Powell showed us all his crazy guitar skills, as did many of the other customers already there. The Highlands area was our next stop, and we spent some time exploring the little shops there while some headed to Yogli Mogli to get some yogurt.

We went to Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta to eat dinner, and man, let me tell you, it was SO good! We were so excited to get a taste of this country cooking, and in the words of Chris Sferra, “Have you ever been so excited about your food, that when you say the blessing, you keep peeking at it?” By the time that we were done, we were absolutely stuffed and could barely walk because we ate so much! Some of us were laughing so hard that we were crying simply because we were so full and having such a good time. These are the kind of moments that we live for on spring term – it was such a great time of rest and relaxation!

At last we reached the climax of the day when we went to the American Authors concert at Center Stage! Their music was fantastic, and we all immediately fell in love with them. After the concert we headed home and got a good night of rest. We are all looking forward to tomorrow after such a great day!

Austin Geter, 9th grade
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Offstage Atlanta Team – Day 1

ImageWhat a great start to a great Spring Term! Our team headed out from the school to Atlanta around 7:30, ready to see what was in store for us this week. As we were stuck in traffic, we took the time to have our devotion in which we looked at Acts 4:29-30. It is such a great prayer that the early church prayed, asking God to do miracles through His followers and His son, Jesus Christ. It was cool to start of the week with this prayer on our hearts as we interact with the city and its people!

After finally getting out of traffic (and after taking a little detour when we got lost 🙂 ), we arrived at the WSB radio/station where B98.5 is hosted! Mrs. Wallace’s good friend, Cami LeBlanc, was so gracious to show us around her studio where she worked and we were able to see what it was like to work at a radio station. Due to the unplanned traffic, we only had a quick visit there before moving on to the CNN Center.

At the CNN Center, it was very interesting to see behind the scenes at the leading news source of the world, as well as to learn more about what goes into making the broadcasts happen. We learned a lot about the technology needed for the broadcast, and this included the green screen, which Isaac Burrier did a great job of testing out for the tour group! Mike Galanos, an NCCS parent and news anchor at CNN, was supposed to meet up with us, but because of breaking news regarding the missing Malaysian flight, he was on air indefinitely. We all thought it was so cool to know someone who is broadcasted live to the whole nation!

When the tour came to a close, we headed out for a much needed break – lunch! We ate at DaVinci’s Pizzeria, an excellent restaurant in the city, as we all bonded together and became closer as a group.

The rest of the day was spent touring backstage at the Woodruff Arts Center, which was such a cool experience. We started off by visiting the Alliance Theatre. Right now, they are in the process of preparing for their last show of the season. While we were there, we were able to see all that goes into building a set there and gearing up for the actors to perform. We loved learning more about the process, as well as seeing the backstage happenings and what goes into making a show happen at the Alliance! As we traveled even further backstage, we toured through the costume shop where all the magic happens. We also got to see the Hertz Theatre, which is a black box at the Alliance for smaller shows. The group loved being able to see all of this, and it was so awesome to learn more about the Alliance!

As that tour came to a close, we headed right next door to the Atlanta Symphony Hall, where all the real magic happens. The stage was so cool and everyone’s eyes widened as we walked into the theatre. We headed backstage and talked to the music librarian on staff for the hall, and learned about the prep that goes into putting on shows there. It was such a cool perspective on music and a super neat job that you don’t consider when going into music. I think that the music nerds of our group were super intrigued!

The tour ended, and everyone was a bit sad that the day was over. On the way home, we made a quick stop at Krispy Kreme (I mean come on, who can resist the hot doughnut sign?!) and again had a great time building bonds that will hopefully last a long time.

Today was a great day to launch into this Spring Term, and we are all so excited for what else is in store!

Austin Geter, 9th gradeImageImageImage
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